GUARDSMAN Chloe Allen has become the British Army’s first female frontline soldier — after being born a boy called Ben. The 24-year-old joined up four years ago as a man, but changed her name officially last month. Sex-change soldier is Britain’s first woman to fight on front line. She will be the first woman allowed to engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Chloe, from Cumbria, has now started hormone therapy. Sporting long polished nails and with silver studs in her ears, she said:
It’s a great honour to make history. I’m just looked at as a normal person.
The Guardsman was still living as Ben Allen when a fellow serviceman discovered her dressed in female gear. Chloe — who was on a deployment conducting ceremonial duties guarding royal residences in London — was overcome with worry. But next day she went down for muster as usual and her comrade’s reaction set her nerves at ease. Chloe, who serves with 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, said:
I went down to muster parade in the morning for PT and it was just mainly banter, just having a laugh. The whole sort of worry that I had, I shouldn’t have even worried. The entire battalion’s been brilliant. If it hadn’t happened I’d still be living a lie now. It was a blessing in disguise — the kick up the a**e I needed to get on and deal with it.
One fellow soldier heard about the incident and suggested 24-year-old Chloe talk to his wife. She said:
It was the first time I told anyone — it was a relief. It felt amazing to finally tell somebody and for her to be so accepting. I told more of my close friends and my family. My family was OK with it. They were a bit shocked but overall they were fine with it. They just wanted to know what I was doing was right — that was their main worry.
A year after coming out to her friends and family, Chloe told her boss she wanted to be a woman. She said:
It was just like talking to my boss about work. It wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary really — he is a very open person. I’ve started hormones in the last month. Everything’s changed now.